The Georgia Supreme Court reinstated a death sentence for a Statham man charged in the 1994 shooting deaths of two women in Hall County.
A lower court ruled earlier this year that Scotty Garnell Morrow did not have adequate representation during the sentencing phase of his trial and dismissed his death sentence.
Morrow was convicted for the December 1994 murders of Barbara Ann Young and Tonya Rochelle Woods and for aggravated battery of LaToya Horne.
Morrow and Young were romantically involved and lived together.
But in December 1994, Young began to lose interest in Morrow and what followed, according to court records, was a number of physical assaults culminating in the shooting death of Young and Woods.
After an argument on the telephone on Dec. 29, 1994, Morrow went to Young's home, where Woods, Horne and two of Young's children were present.
First, Morrow shot Woods with a 9 mm handgun. Then, he shot Horne in the arm. Morrow then chased Young through the house, shooting at her multiple times before firing a fatal shot at close range while her young son watched from a closet.
Morrow then returned to the kitchen and fatally shot Woods at close range. He also shot Horne in the face; Horne survived but with permanent injuries.
In his original 1995 trial, Morrow pleaded innocent to 14 charges connected to the murders.
In 2001, Morrow filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming his court-appointed attorney was ineffective in the sentencing phase of his trial.
The habeas court sided with Morrow in a ruling earlier this year — a decision the state's highest court overturned Monday.
In its 27-page opinion, the Georgia Supreme Court chided the habeas court for the length of time Morrow's petition for habeas corpus was pending in the courts.
Morrow filed the petition in June 2001, but the court did not rule on his petition until February.
The Georgia Supreme Court's ruling overturns the lower court's decision, though it does seem to have found "professional deficiencies" in Morrow's legal representation.
The court said those deficiencies would not have resulted in a different outcome in Morrow's trial or sentencing, however, and concluded that his attorneys gave him adequate representation.